Dress for Winter Success

Working during the winter months can provide many opportunities to be outdoors when it is very cold. While outdoor winter work is necessary, not being prepared for the cold challenge can increase your risk for injury.

The CDC provides some good information and statistics on Cold Stress and Cold Related injuries here.

One important measure that can reduce the cold challenge is dressing properly.   Following are a few tips to Dress for Success when working outside in the cold:

  • Staying dry is as important as staying warm.  Choose clothing that will wick sweat away from your body and keep moisture out.
  • Dress in light layers.   Layering can help prevent overheating and unnecessary sweating by removing or adding clothing according to your level of activity.  One method for layering is as follows:
    • Under layer:
      • Long underwear made of polypropylene wicks moisture away from the body.
    • Inner layer:  
      • Inner layers of wool or hollow core synthetic yarns provide insulation.   Multiple layers can be used here.
    • Outer Layer: 
      • The outer layer should be made of wind and moisture resistant fabrics.
  • Fingers and toes:
    • Wearing an extra pair of thin socks under a heavier warm pair can help wick moisture away from your feet and keep them warmer longer.
    • Bring a change of socks to change into when the first pair gets damp.
    • Mittens use your body heat to help keep your hands warmer. 
    • Using a pair of gloves with an removable inner liner will also help. 
  • Top it off:.
    • The following quote from an article in the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle, SFGate, gives insight on hats and head coverings: Article “Cover your head if you want to stay warm. In truth, wearing a hat will keep you warm, but the percentage of heat you lose through your head depends on how well you bundle up the rest of your body. And losing even a small amount of heat through your face, as well as your hands and feet, affects your body's internal temperature.”